Friday, April 24, 2009

We've lost another one

First, my sympathies to all of those who loved her.

A Canadian soldier, Maj. Michelle Mendez was found in her room. She was 27. That is really all we know as the military is releasing no details.

I usually don't comment on individual soldiers' deaths, it is clear by most of my postings here that I don't believe we should be in Afghanistan, nor should our children be dying there. However, upon reading the story, on CBC, one thing hit me like a brick in the head:

According to published reports, Mendes, a graduate of Kingston's Royal Military College, had previously toured in Afghanistan and was among 11 soldiers who were returned to Canada for treatment in September 2006 following a friendly-fire incident that killed one.

While knowing full well that I am cynical at best, I wonder now about why this young woman is now gone. Could there be some kind of connection?

The CBC article does not mention the incident, however a search has turned up this interesting report, wherein the Canadian miliatry has blacked out much of the findings:

No charges in 'friendly fire' death: army report

The Canadian report has information blacked out -- the military said that was done to protect operational security

This report from Dose:

She had served previously in Kandahar. According to previously published news reports, she was in the area of a September 2006 friendly-fire incident that came during Operation Medusa, a major Canadian-led battle against Taliban insurgents that took place in the Panjwaii district west of Kandahar city.

Then a captain, Mendes was among 11 Canadian soldiers who were returned to Canada after the friendly fire incident, which saw an American aircraft mistake a group of Canadians for the enemy. It opened fire, killing Pte. Mark Graham and wounding approximately 36 others. The Canadian military has not identified what physical injuries if any that Mendes suffered then.

Mendez was in military intelligence:
The newspaper noted that she had opted for a career in military intelligence. "I was thrilled," the newspaper quoted her mother, Dianne Knight, as saying. "It's right up her alley. She spends the majority of her time reading and analyzing things, and she's so good at it."

This incident was basically swept under the carpet, with no charges being laid against the perpetrators.

Deaths such as this at bases are certainly not the norm, and should be considered disturbing at the least. It has been confirmed her death was not by enemy means, from the above article; "a non-battle injury that did not involve enemy action."

Already the lack of details, at least to me, throw up a red flag.


Doug Plumb said...

I find the Peterborough Examiner and the Belleville Intelligencer interesting papers to read and sometimes take clippings from.

In "Local Girl Off To War" by John Campbell 4/20, he writes of what the girl has to say, I'll leave you a few quotes from a high school presentation:

"My role will be combat arms, I'll be right in it."

"I love what we do, its an adrenalin rush"

"We have a job like no other person...thereare a lot of people who do paperwork and then there is us who get to shoot big guns and thats a lot of fun"

"Its a huge danger, but our world isn't going to get any better unless people put themselves out there to help, especially in a country like Afghanistan"

"We are needed more than ever"

Kelsie Burns who also has a black belt in Twae-Kwon-Do also goes on to say: "I got the big guns to work with the guns"

Hearing this kind of stuff from a new recruit may have a gut-wrenching affect on an officer.

Lat week another young girl also died from a road side bomb. Trooper Karine Blais, 21 died only after two weeks in the theater of operation.

Magdelena said...

You know Doug, I had an interesting talk with my Dad. We spoke about the 'soldier of the day'.

For a moment I thought he was having an old age dementia thing, as he shouted -"Robots'.

But what he meant was that these kids are being programmed - like robots.

Their humanity is shaken out through the sieve of programming.

It made him very sad, since it was one of the sorts of things he warned about during his retirement speech - in the late seventies!

Doug Plumb said...

I wonder if we deserve to know the truth about what caused this needless death.

I wonder what the Major thinks about war. It has its advantages: hardship builds strength, war also gives us culture and a sense of purpose. I don't like this arguement myself.

Surely she must have known the truth about what is happening and must have justified it in her own mind. I wonder what she would say about the war, being of that rank.

Penny said...

that is interesting??

wondering was she suffering ptsd?
sent back to quickly?
certain the military will cover this up.

Doug Plumb said...

I was reading the Globe this morning, hoping to find more information. Its rumoured that this was a self inflicted gunshot wound that killed Mendez.

Of the non combat deaths, most are in traffic accidents and related or reasonably expected injuries.

Oddly enough, another major also died of self inflicted gunshot wound. Maj. Raymond Ruckpaul died on Aug 2007.

I just believe that high ranking officers would have a different view of the war than enlisted men and women. I wonder if this different view could be the cause of suicides.

Magdelena said...

That's certainly possible Doug.

My own father, as I said is sickened by what is going on. It makes him very sad, and he's no longer even part of the military.

If one is privy to more of what is happening, and has a conscience, then clearly it is not an easy thing to live with.

Penny said...

maggie: happy mom's day, though the kids can be difficult, sigh.... it is all ok in the end.

Hope you had a wonderful day and were shown some appreciation??

(little ingrates!)

;) ;)

Magdelena said...

ahhh sweetie, thanks.

my son gave my his cold for mothers day. i've gone through 2 whole boxes of kleenex already. Plus a fraction of another few boxes (one in every room currently).

Now, I'm going back to bed...

arghhhhhh i hate colds...

Doug Plumb said...

Still no word on this womans death. If it was something other than suicide we would hear about it - gun accident, etc.

If it was suicide, we would not hear about it. There are a lot of suicides in the ranks of police and military that we don't hear about.

These people that join the military are considered the best of the gene pool by the folks that wrote The Report From Iron Mountain.

I wish everyone would read this, its at

What a waste.

Magdelena said...

Doug, there will be nothing more. they will allow this to fade into obscurity.

You may be right, that she killed herself. Yet the question remains - why and under what kind of circumstances? Did she wake up to find she was really one of the bad guys? Was it too much?

Even for my Dad, now in his sunset years, looking back he questions much of what he was involved with during WW2. When I was still brainwashed, and believed that war was the 'good war', he used to raise and eyebrow and say 'no war is a good war'.

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